Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A worthy effort

The rumors are true -- The Hawg writes quite a few paid posts.

This isn't one of them.

No, there are just times when a company is so great that I feel compelled to brag on them for free. In this case, the company engaged in a worthy effort is OTRCat.com (Old Time Radio Catalog). I was thinking very highly of Jon over at OTRCat this weekend as my wife, family and I were on a trip to northwest Arkansas to see my nephew graduate from high school.

We took a bunch of Henry Aldrich MP3s with us on the trip and that just made the journey go that much quicker. For those not familiar with old time radio (or "OTR" as its rabid fans call it), those are the shows that emerged in the Golden Age of Radio. Before there was television, people used to gather around the radio for entertainment and, in fact, some of the most classic dramas (Dragnet, Gunsmoke, The Lone Ranger, etc.) and great comedies (Jack Benny Show, Burns & Allen, etc.) started out as radio programs and made the jump to television.

Sadly, we're rapidly losing the generation that grew up on those programs, and Jon is to be commended on his attempts to preserve a part of our history and pass it on to people like me who weren't even alive during the Golden Age of Radio. I got hooked on those shows years ago as my dad and I listened to Lum and Abner reruns on a radio station out of Hot Springs, Ark., in the 1970s and early '80s.

For those who weren't treated with such an introduction to OTR, Jon makes it easy. He offers free downloads on a daily basis, generally has themed programs up for downloads on holidays and regularly has special packages at amazingly low prices. Also, he's got guides over there that instruct people how to get started in the world of OTR. Regardless, the free samples are ideal for those who might have heard of a program but aren't sure they'll like it.

The programs are sold for dirt cheap, the quality is generally better than can be expected (we're talking about really old recordings here, folks) and Jon is a heck of a nice guy (yes, I've ordered programs from him before -- the shipping was quick and the communications with Jon are fantastic). Go pay that site a visit, folks, and you might just discover that collecting old time radio shows is an immensely entertaining and worthwhile hobby.

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